Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui talks UEFA.com through the challenge facing the five-time winners in Friday's final.
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Julen Lopetegui has made it all the way to the UEFA Europa League final at the end of his first season in charge of Sevilla, but the 53-year-old is in no hurry to make any assessment of his performance to date.
Once a back-up goalkeeper at Barcelona, the former Porto, Spain and Real Madrid player has steered his side to Friday's decider against Inter Milan in Cologne, and maintains that Sevilla’s five past final successes in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League will count for little when they take on Antonio Conte’s Inter.
On final opponents Inter
Inter are a team that is equipped to compete in the Champions League, given the calibre of players they have which is extraordinary, and a very experienced manager who has coached many top teams. What I expect is a top-quality match which will demand the best of us, and, obviously, we will try to prepare well for it and to have the answers for such a daunting challenge.
They have top players in every sense of the word, and they have their style of play ingrained in the players, thanks to their manager. That will require us to be at our limit in every respect to compete with them. They've had a great year; they missed out on the Scudetto by a point. In the Champions League they’ve been able to show what kind of team they are as well, and they’ve been very convincing in getting to the final. What we need to do is be ready.
On Sevilla’s history in the Europa League
This is a new team – completely new and different team, with different players and a different manager. Of course, it helps that the club has reached this stage before, but I must insist that I don’t think it’s an advantage for anybody. Because two totally different teams are playing, and we are up against a great team.
There's no point looking backwards – the reality is here and now. They're one team and
we are another and, to be honest, this is what will help us focus. We’re happy to be able to play in a final and to be able to challenge for a trophy against a team like Inter in such a great competition as the Europa League.
On his first season at Sevilla
I'm not too sure how I'll remember it; we're very focused on the present, so we don't think about what we’re going to think in the future. The only time we have is limited to preparing for the game. We’re focused on a very important game, and it’s not the time to make any kind of assessment: we’re still fighting.